I have lived outside of the British Isles most of my adult life, only occasionally stopping back there for important family gatherings, funerals, and the like. And so it was, whilst visiting friends in Canada recently, I stumbled upon Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson.
What a delighful read. Bill writes with fondness and appreciation of my homeland, liberally smattered with big dollops of his unique wit and humour. Part tour guide, part homage to a country he called home for two decades, he retells his early experiences with the strange and quirky land, the things that have changed – for good and bad – and gives a very unbiased observation of many regions of the UK I also love, and love to hate.
It was a nostalgic journey for me, and quite lovely to hear the reflections and observations of a ‘foreigner’ to my little island. I found myself all at once crying, as I remembered fondly places from my childhood, and laughing out loud (which I rarely do when reading!) at his spot-on observations about us Brits. It was great to be reminded of what makes the British so unique and cherished.
This is an easy read and page-turner, in fact, I easily used this book as an excuse NOT to do more important chores! Bill has a wonderfully engaging and conversational style. If you’re a fan of the UK, planning a trip there, or just like a jolly good read, this book gets two thumbs up from me – I’d give it more, but I only have two hands!
Thank you Bill Bryson for taking the time to jot down your love of my country.